Marijuana tourism has boomed in Colorado since recreational use became legal. “Bud and breakfast” venues, social events featuring cannabis-infused foods and drinks and of course multiple dispensaries have all benefitted from the movement. Denver’s airport was also cashing in by selling marijuana-related souvenirs. But that’s all coming to an end.
According to a story in Yahoo, the airport has now banned pot-themed gifts, toys and more, all out of concern that the products could “taint the state’s image.”
Marijuana possession and pot-related advertising were already banned in the airport, but executives there decided to extend the ban earlier this month after a retailer was looking to put up a free-standing kiosk to sell marijuana-related boxer shorts and similar items.
Airport spokesman Heath Montgomery said, “We don’t want marijuana to be the first thing our visitors experience when they arrive. Frankly, there’s a lot more to Colorado than pot.”
The airport policy “bans depictions of the marijuana plant, items with the word “marijuana” and the sale of publications devoted expressly to pot. But airport officials concede they can’t keep out the ‘Rocky Mountain High’ puns and other slogans.”
The retailer that got turned down is considering suing the airport, claiming that the souvenirs are legal and that the airport already has a large exhibit celebrating craft brewers, “whose product, like marijuana, is legal only for people 21 and older.” It’s not likely the lawsuit would gain any traction, since airports have the choice to control concession operators and limit free-speech activities. Also, the legalization measure that was approved in Colorado in 2012 allows any property owner to prohibit possession of pot, and airports in Denver and Colorado Springs do. Colorado’s smaller airports don’t ban marijuana-themed souvenirs.
Washington state is currently the only other state with recreational marijuana sales. At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, they haven’t banned pot possession or marijuana-themed souvenirs.